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Beats and brews: Music festival rocks Dawsonville
Dressed in rocker Angus Youngs signature schoolboy uniform, 5-year-old Dylan Nixon and his dad Johnny rock out to AC/DC tribute band Back N Black Friday night at the Dawsonville Music and Beer Festival. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Little Dylan Nixon may only be 5-years-old, but he quite possibly could be the biggest AC/DC fan in north Georgia.

"He loves them. Them and Kiss are his favorite bands," said his dad, Johnny Nixon, as the pair stood next to the stage while AC/DC tribute band Back N Black rocked out the Dawsonville Music and Beer Festival Friday night.

"He's a huge fan."

The two-day festival drew thousands to downtown Dawsonville for tunes and the opportunity to try a variety of craft brews.

"We have about 1,000 people here tonight," organizer Donovan Hyder said Friday. "We're already sold more than 3,000 tickets for Saturday, so we think the weekend's going to be big success."

Beer enthusiast James Dunn drove in from Chatsworth with friends for the fun and festivities.

"I've been to several beer festivals and they've got something going here," he said. "It's a great time...good, cold beer. We're meeting a lot of new folks. There's a lot of good food vendors. The bands are real good. We're having fun."

Cumming-based All Night Wrong and southern rockers Reluctant Saints opened the festival for Back N Black Friday.

Brian Cameron, guitarist for Reluctant Saints, said the south Atlanta band was thrilled to play for the Dawsonville crowd.

"The folks here in Dawsonville are awesome. They welcomed us with open arms. We've just had a great time," he said. "Everybody's made us feel really welcome. This is a great party and we're glad we could be a part of it."

Saturday's lineup was Johnny Awesome, Kiss Rub Punch, Southern Accent Band, Paris Luna and Luke Combs with Gainesville's Alex Hall headlining.

Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan said the city couldn't be more thrilled to play host to the festival, now in its third year.

"It's a fabulous event. We've got a great crowd. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves," he said. "It's an event that draws a lot of people to Dawsonville and brings a lot of money into Dawsonville.

"They're eating in our restaurants, shopping at our stores and a lot of people are staying in our hotels, and we welcome them."

A portion of the funds raised through the festival will benefit two separate charities: Zac Brown's Camp Southern Ground, which is being built to help children with autism, ADD and ADHD, and the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, which pays tribute to the state's unique motorsports history.